With the death of the shell demon, the spell trapping them at the bottom of the lake vanished. Now, the bottom of the lake was no longer safe, and there was no longer any pressure holding them down from the top. Lin Suci and the rest easily ascended upwards, and popped out from beneath the surface.
Sprawled on Yan Boshen’s shoulder, Lin Suci spat out a mouthful of boggy water, wiping away the water from his face.
Around them was an orange coloured lake, different from the one he fell into.
Yan Boshen led Lin Suci, while Bai Qingkong and Shu Changyi supported each other. The four of them left the lake. Bai Qingkong and Shu Changyi, exhausted to the point where they did not even want to twitch their fingers, collapsed on the bank into the grass, gasping for air.
Lin Suci wrung his clothes out. Fortunately, his pouch was waterproof, and the talismans inside it were not damaged from the water, and their loss was avoided.
“Xingcheng, thank you very much for your aid today.” When Bai Qingkong caught his breath, the first thing he did was to turn and look at Lin Suci, speaking earnestly.
Lin Suci’s lips trembled.
He had just been crushed under the protagonist halo, and his strong and unshakable heart had inevitably turned into glass, shattering under the impact. It had taken him some time to repair that shattered, glass heart of his.
“You’re too polite. We’re close, after all.” Lin Suci still remembered that he had set himself up as a brother character for Bai Qingkong. Smiling, he showed his concern. “By the way, why are you here?”
Bai Qingkong was covered in injuries. With just one look, it was clear that he had been engaged in many fights.
If it was before, Lin Suci would be able to follow the plot of the novel, guessing that Bai Qingkong had gotten a pair of gills from a clam demon and fell into the cave by accident.
However, now, it was very clear that the plot had been moved forward by three days. The things Bai Qingkong had experienced in the past two days seemed to not match the timeline as well.
Lin Suci’s eyes shifted slightly, falling on the person next to Bai Qingkong.
The youth dressed in brown looked to be around eighteen or nineteen years of age, a little bigger than them. His appearance was warm and gentle, except for a scar on his cheek. It affected his looks, giving him a little of an evil air.
Meeting Lin Suci’s eyes, the youth became a little more reserved, then nodded at him.
“It was an accident…” Bai Qingkong scratched his head. Free from the tough battle just now, his embarrassed appearance somewhat coincided with how he looked like at Chongyun Sect a few months ago.
As the little cabbage shared his story, Lin Suci sat down next to Yan Boshen, opening a can of dried fish. He shoved some at the storytelling little cabbage and Shu Changyi, then fed Yan Boshen as he himself chewed on it as well, presenting himself as a very well prepared audience.
That day, when Bai Qingkong entered the secret realm, he had originally been with the other disciples of his sect. However, the disciples were very unhappy with this “outsider” who had snatched this entry spot. Not only did they deliberately abandon him, they even sent him into the hands of disciples of their rival sect.
Bai Qingkong was only at the fifth stage of Qi refining, and his strength was truly weak. Like a prey, he had been chased into a desolate place by those disciples, falling into a hole by accident.
Up until here, it was a plot that Lin Suci was familiar with.
However, what happened next was different.
Having read the novel, Lin Suci remembered very clearly that Bai Qingkong, still a little cabbage, had fallen into the hole. With a tumble, his hand landed right onto a toad that was lying on the bottom of the hole. Upon coming into contact with his skin, the toad melted, and caused poison to gather in his body. Bai Qingkong was on the verge of death, and his body naturally forced the poison out. Now, instead, he had absorbed the spiritual energy of the high level toad. Sitting in the hole for ten hours, he rose from the fifth stage of Qi refining all the way to the ninth.
However, what Bai Qingkong shared with them was different from Lin Suci’s memory.
“… Thankfully, Shu-xiong discovered me, and saved me from danger.” Bai Qingkong was very thankful when he said this. “If not for Shu-xiong transferring spiritual energy to me, I’m afraid I wouldn’t have been able to absorb that energy from the toad. Perhaps, I might have died in that hole, and no one would know.”
Chewing on his dried fish, Lin Suci’s eyes again fell onto Shu Changyi.
Shu Changyi gave a courteous smile. “I happened to see this, and I naturally should help out when I can. It’s also fortunate that I was able to provide the help, and got a good buddy in return.”
Lin Suci thought for a moment, then interrupted, “Shu-xiong, if I remember correctly, during the first day, a few disciples from your sect came to snatch… ah, no, came looking for the spiritual spring. They said that their shixiong had been affected by evil energy. Were you the one they were referring to?”
Hearing that, Shu Changyi was surprised. “At that time, the one who so kindly saved me was you, little buddy?”
He stood up and bowed deeply. “Many thanks to this little buddy for your aid at that time. Without you, I would not have been able to get out of danger.”
“It’s nothing, there’s no need for the thanks. I just want to ask, Shu-xiong, how did you get affected by the evil energy then?” Lin Suci kept feeling that something was not quite right.
Shu Changyi frowned. “Even if little buddy didn’t ask, I was going to mention it as well. I’m afraid that there’s something wrong with this Golden Jade Pavilion. The bamboo-destroying grass in this secret realm is poisonous.”
“Oh?” Lin Suci blinked innocently, turning his head.
His keeper, his eldest senior, lowered his eyelids, a darkness glimmering in his eyes as he looked at him with a faint smile.
Why was he looking at him?! He also did not know what was going on with Shu Changyi!
“Why, it’s different from what you dream?” Yan Boshen spoke telepathically.
Lin Suci, “…”
Was his keeper taking the initiative to prepare a good excuse for him?
Lin Suci was unabashed. His blush came and left in an instant, and he immediately went along with what Yan Boshen said, replying telepathically as well, “There is some difference. In my dream, it’s not time for this Shu-xiong to appear yet.”
The two of them were still talking telepathically here, while over there, Shu Changyi was explaining what had happened.
“I may have a special constitution. When harvesting the bamboo-destroying grass, I was attacked by the very strong evil energy, causing my body to start releasing evil energy, and I was unconscious. Fortunately, little buddy was willing to help, and allowed the spiritual spring to save my life.”
“One I got rid of the evil spirit, I tried it over and over again, and realised that the issue lay with the bamboo-destroying grass. It contains an evil energy that corrupts spiritual energy, and when one is harvesting it, the evil spirit will secretly creep into the body.” Shu Changyi hesitated for a moment. “The moment I discovered this, I wanted to immediately send a message to everyone, and let them all know to be careful and not fall for this trap. However, unexpectedly, a horde of beasts appeared suddenly, causing me to be separated from the people of my sect, as well as the disciples of other sects. Later on, I happened to meet with Little Bro Bai.”
Bai Qingkong added, “The moment Shu-xiong saw me, he mentioned it to me. Unfortunately, our luck is poor. We’ve been circling about the past two days, and we didn’t see anyone at all. As such, we were unable to share the news.”
Lin Suci understood everything now.
This Shu Changyi was following the little cabbage. As the protagonist, one would not only have the protagonist halo, one would also have disaster accompanying them. Although after such disasters, the protagonist would receive great rewards, this process would definitely be tough. It was no wonder that these two people seemed to have suffered as though they had been trampled on by a hundred disciples, and they had yet to know what was happening beyond them.
Bai Qingkong continued, “I don’t know if we took the wrong path or something, Shu-xiong and I would either meet up with a horde of beasts, or fall into a collapsed hole. We finally managed to climb out of it, only to meet up with another monster.”
The continuous misery of the past few days had left Bai Qingkong’s eyes dull. “With much difficulty, I managed to snatch a knife from the monster’s mouth with Shu-xiong, and escaped from death. We then fell into a lake, and was trapped in a bubble for an entire night.”
Shu Changyi also had an expression that could not bear to be seen. Covering his face, he looked as though he had nothing to live for.
Lin Suci wanted to laugh.
He had already read about the little cabbage’s arduous journey. Even if there was one more person by his side, those disasters would not spare him. Instead, because of Shu Changyi’s participation, the plot had only progressed faster. The little cabbage had yet to absorb the spiritual energy, and he was hurried on to the next battle. As compared to the previous step-by-step process, right now, Bai Qingkong was just a pitiful little cabbage that had been ravaged mercilessly.
“Later on, a whirlpool formed in the lake. We were dragged in, and then we met you.”
Bai Qingkong’s eyes were starry. “Xingcheng, it’s all thanks to you. Otherwise, Shu-xiong and I would have been eaten up by that shell demon.”
Lin Suci felt a twinge of guilt, and he immediately puffed his chest up. “What’s there to thank me about? You’ve already thanked me so many times. My little brother is in danger, as an older brother, shouldn’t I step forward to help?”
His words attracted the eyes of two people.
Lin Suci directly ignored Shu Changyi’s probing gaze. As for the dark eyes of his keeper next to him, they were like sharp blades on his back, and even his bones tensed up.
“You’re really older than me?” Bai Qingkong hesitated. Looking at Lin Suci’s fair and tender appearance, he was a little doubtful.
“I heard that for demon cultivators to be able to transform into a human, most of them have been cultivating for hundreds of years, and so he should be older than you,” Shu Changyi said.
However, Lin Suci shook his head openly, holding one finger up. “I’m not hundreds of years old. This year, I…”
Bai Qingkong and Shu Changyi stared closely at his finger, soundlessly guessing at his age.
If he was not hundreds of years old, could it be that… he was a thousand years old?
He was a big-time demon?
Shu Changyi’s face changed slightly.
Under their anxious eyes, Lin Suci lifted his little head proudly as he gleefully said, “I’m about to be one year old!”
Bai Qingkong, “…”
Shu Changyi, “…”
In an instant, both of them were stunned.
The moment Lin Suci raised his finger, Yan Boshen already knew what the little kitten wanted to do. With a curl of his lips, he rapped his proud little head.
It was also Yan Boshen’s action that pulled the two people back to the present.
“One year old… Uh…” Shu Changyi looked clever, but he stammered as though he had bumped his head into the door. He praised with difficulty, “Little bro… You’re truly… a genius… child.”
Bai Qingkong was not as conflicted as Shu Changyi. His first reaction was, “Then you’re younger than me by fourteen years, I should be the older brother.”
Lin Suci, “I’m at the ninth stage of Foundation Building.”
Bai Qingkong, who had just been bursting with confidence, instantly turned back into being a little cabbage. “…”
He was fourteen years old, yet the other party was already at the ninth stage of Foundation Building, while he had only just entered the first stage.
The little cabbage covered his face quietly.
Shu Changyi was even more surprised. “Just a year old… and this little buddy is already at the ninth stage of Foundation Building… It seems like you must have a very good family background. Little buddy, are your parents famous cultivators?”
Lin Suci stared at Shu Changyi for a long time, then he grinned. “In your opinion, who are my parents?”
His tone was very friendly, as though it was a conversation between playmates.
However, Shu Changyi became a little more cautious. With a smile, he said, “If my guess is wrong, Little Buddy, don’t be upset.”
“I heard Bai-xiaodi say that your name is Ye Xingchen.”
Shamelessly, Lin Suci nodded. “That’s right.”
With the first question, he had already completely misled him.
Shu Changyi was even more cautious now. “I’m young too, and I only know a little about the cultivation word. Demon cultivators with the last name Ye, if I didn’t remember wrongly, in the Domain of Wind and Ashes, there’s a demon cultivator who is at the Nascent Soul stage, and their last name is Ye. However, this Ye-qianbei1, their original form seems to be a… snake?”
His eyes fell onto Lin Suci’s ears.
Lin Suci twitched his ears and swayed his tail, and he spoke meaningfully, “I’m a cat.”
“A cat…” Shu Changyi was completely lost for thoughts. He gritted his teeth, thinking deeply, what else could there be?
“Uh… I really can’t think of any other demon cultivators with the last name Ye anymore.”
Shu Changyi spread his palms out, smiling wryly. “Little Buddy, I’m sorry, I guessed wrongly.”
“It doesn’t matter that your guess was wrong.” Lin Suci was composed. “I just want to ask, where is the Domain of Wind and Ashes? How do you know there’s a Nascent Soul demon cultivator there? And how did you know that their last name is Ye, and that their original form is a snake?”
His eyes were bright as he stared at Shu Changyi, as though he was going to make him reveal his original form.
Shu Changyi jolted slightly, then gave a small smile. “I once followed my elders on a trip, and I happened to hear a cultivator passing by mention this. Because that demon cultivator had a very unique background, so I remembered it more clearly. Meeting you today, it caused the memory to reappear.”
“Oh, it’s like this…” Lin Suci smiled, as though letting him off. He changed the topic. “Let’s not talk about me anymore. Shu-xiong, you and little ca… Bai Qingkong-xiaodi, what do you plan to do now?”
Shu Changyi hesitated, turning to look at Bai Qingkong.
Bai Qingkong looked completely innocent. “Naturally, we’re going to look for our seniors. After four more days, we’ll be able to leave.”
“Four days…” Lin Suci repeated meaningfully. “Then what are you going to do during these four days?”
“Naturally…” Bai Qingkong too did not know what he should do, and hesitated. “Perhaps, I’ll practice my skills with Shu-xiong.”
“Shu-xiong comes from a famous family, and he doesn’t despise me, even willing to guide me. I naturally have to learn well from him.”
“Xingchen.” Bai Qingkong looked at him. “Would you like to join me?”
Before Lin Suci could open his mouth, someone had already refused the invitation decisively on his behalf.
After listening to the story-telling session, there were now traces of impatience on Yan Boshen’s face.
Bai Qingkong and Shu Changyi directed their gazes at him.
Yan Boshen’s strength was a mystery, and despite the pressure bearing down on them in the cave, he still had an oppressive aura around him, that made it hard for people to breath. Previously, the two of them had been speaking to Lin Suci the entire time, trying their best to ignore Yan Boshen’s existence. However, they still had a nervousness around them, as though they were facing a fierce beast. Now, facing him directly, the two youths could not help but shrink into themselves.
It was still fine for Bai Qingkong. As for Shu Changyi, after looking at Yan Boshen for a moment, he frowned imperceptibly, his expression looking as though he was deep in thought.
Since his keeper had spoken, Lin Suci waved his hand calmly. “Forget it, we won’t hang out together anymore.”
Bai Qingkong was shy, and dared not speak to Yan Boshen. As for Shu Changyi, he was calm. Cupping his hands together, he greeted him. “This shixiong is also my saviour, and I’ve yet to ask about your name.”
Yan Boshen gave the slightest nod. “Yan.”
As for what his first name was, he did not reveal it.
He was older, and it was evident that his cultivation was much higher than theirs. As a senior, with just a last name, it was enough for them to address him.
Shu Changyi and Bai Qingkong both cupped their hands at him, bowing.
“For both today and the past, I am very thankful to Yan-qianbei and Little Buddy for your aid. I am very grateful, and if qianbei or Little Buddy have any needs, please just mention it.”
Shu Changyi was very polite.
However, Bai Qingkong blushed, and stammered for a long while, “I… I have nothing, and I’m not strong enough either. For saving my life, I’m very grateful. I’ll… I’ll… offer up my hand in…”
“There’s no need.” Yan Boshen interrupted Bai Qingkong with no hesitation.
However, Lin Suci’s eyes were gleaming. “Need, need, need! Who said there’s no need? You’re offering your hand in marriage, aren’t you? I want… Oh!”
The kitten’s mouth was covered shut by his keeper. Yan Boshen, his arms circling Lin Suci from behind, gave a smile that did not reach his eyes. “What do you want?”
Lin Suci swayed his tail, answering smartly, “Mm mm mm!” I want you!
Perhaps his keeper and him could communicate without words. Yan Boshen looked into him deeply, slowly letting go.
Lin Suci clicked his tongue. Everything about his keeper was good, other than the fact that he did not allow him to tease others. This made him feel all pent up with energy.
This was such a fresh and tender little cabbage, right in front of him. It was such a torture not being able to tease him.
Freed from his keeper’s hand, the kitten shrunk into himself warily, his expression innocent and frank. “Shixiong! What I meant is, Little Ca- Bai Qingkong is rather capable, and his cultivation isn’t too bad, so we can train together or something.”
It was all bullshit.
With only a glance, Yan Boshen knew that the kitten he raised was talking nonsense again.
“Shixiong!” Lin Suci pressed both his hands on Yan Boshen’s knees, his eyes shining. “Listen to me, Bai Qingkong… He can…”
Before Lin Suci could finish his sentence, the ground shook violently.
Lin Suci’s footing was not steady, and he fell directly into Yan Boshen’s arms.
His keeper’s reaction was very quick as well. Carrying him, he swiftly left the ground.
Bai Qingkong was completely unprepared, and he relied entirely on Shu Changyi to support him. His face was alarmed. “What’s going on?! Is there another horde of beasts?”
The little cabbage was truly worthy of being the little cabbage. During the three days spent in the secret realm, the rest of the people had been moving about in peace, while he had been trapped in extreme misery. As long as there were any signs of disturbance, his completely ravaged and miserable heart would tremble.
As for Shu Changyi, he was already prepared. Supporting Bai Qingkong, he said calmly, “It might be that the exit to the realm has opened.”
Sheltered in Yan Boshen’s arms, Lin Suci interrupted, “It’s not a possibility. It’s certainly the case.”
Bai Qingkong had already taken away the treasure of this secret realm. To be able to give them this period to chat leisurely had been the greatest extent the realm could provide them with. Right now, without the treasure supporting the realm, it was about to collapse.
Lin Suci had no time to say anything else, and he quickly told Yan Boshen, “Hurry, let Third-shixiong and the rest prepare, we’re about to head out!”
Perhaps, from the situation, Yan Boshen could foresee what was about to happen. After a moment of silence, he raised his hand, drawing out the energy of his sword. It sliced through the air, like a bolt of lightning, quickly vanishing in front of their eyes.
By now, the sky was about to collapse. The spiritual plants in the secret realm withered rapidly, the spiritual beasts were maddened and wild, the lake under them dried up instantly, and the lighting of the sky changed rapidly.
Lin Suci was entirely tucked in Yan Boshen’s arms, his feet not touching the ground, and he was completely shielded by Yan Boshen. Not far from them, with a bleak face, Bai Qingkong had already taken his sword out, looking as though he was ready to fight for his life any moment. It was all thanks to Shu Changyi stopping him, and that was why he did not rush straight into the wilderness.
Lin Suci hugged Yan Boshen, quietly saying, “Don’t panic, it’ll be fine. Just wait for a while, and once the exit opens, we can leave. None of this will hurt us…”
How could Yan Boshen not know this? The main thing he was concerned about was that in the chaos of the secret realm, the spiritual beasts were disturbed, and there would be another big time demon appearing. If he were to let go off this kitten in his arms, he might be snatched away by someone else again.
Yan Boshen tightened his arms around Lin Suci.
Despite attaching a leash to his waist already, Yan Boshen was still uneasy.
There was a need to make him unable to go further than a step away from him.
If something were to happen to his kitten again right under his eyes, Yan Boshen himself did not know what things he would be able to do then.
Lin Suci only felt a heat around his waist, but the hottest one was still Yan Boshen’s hands.
His palm was big, and it was usually quite cold. However, at this moment, Lin Suci discovered that Yan Boshen’s palms were so warm that they kept him toasty.
Lin Suci leaned into his ear quietly, whispering, “What are you getting anxious about?”
While he spoke, a golden light burst into the sky. The winds and the clouds churned, and the sky turned dark.
Yan Boshen looked at the little darling dumpling in his arms.
The kitten did not know what he was thinking about. That pair of bright green eyes were still as clear and pure like a baby animal, completely undefiled, nor could there be a shadow seen within.
He was still smiling. His face was relaxed, his eyes curved, and the corners of his mouth were tilted upwards. The little sharp teeth revealed were just like him, adorable, yet cutting.
“Take a guess about what I’m anxious about.”
Yan Boshen’s voice was low, his tone soft.
Lin Suci grinned back. “I guess you’re definitely anxious. Boshen, Boshen, being anxious is nothing to be ashamed of. Why are you acting shy? There’s no need to act in front of me, just let me see how you’re like when you’re shy…”
The kitten’s ability to put on a grand front was still the same. Despite the chaos around them, he could still reach out and crook a finger under Yan Boshen’s chin, acting flirtatiously, “Yo, why isn’t there a hint of a blush…”
The exit opened, and rays of golden light scattered everywhere.
The golden light was so bright that one’s vision was affected.
Lin Suci felt as though his eyes had been stabbed. Squinting, he could not see anything clearly.
His vision seemed to dim. There was something blocking the light.
And Yan Boshen’s voice seemed to be knocking right onto his heart. “Then, tell me, what am I anxious about?”
Lin Suci’s throat bobbed. He gulped down his saliva.
Right now, the voice of his keeper… it was… confusingly… magnetic and sexy.
“What are you… anxious about?”
Lin Suci’s voice was trembling imperceptibly.
There seemed to be a faint light enveloping his body, that also seemed to be like a shroud of furious wind. Flapping and fluttering, random noises could be heard, causing Lin Suci’s head to feel a little heavy.
“I’m anxious, wondering how to…”
He heard the first part of Yan Boshen’s statement.
The next moment, the exit took the initiative to suck in all the disciples in the secret realm. Lin Suci felt his body becoming weightless. Before he could fly out from Yan Boshen’s embrace, he was once again dragged back firmly into those familiar arms by a big palm.
As his ears rang, Lin Suci vaguely heard Yan Boshen chuckling lowly by his ear, his deep voice rumbling.
“… Eat you up.”